Fostering a Passion for the Performing Arts with Local Legend - The Shubert Theater

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From powering the famous footlights to inspiring a passion for the arts, the Avangrid Foundation, in charitable partnership with local AVANGRID subsidiaries United Illuminating and Southern Connecticut Gas are long-time partners of the historic Shubert Theater, in New Haven, Conn.

A Star is Born in New Haven

The iconic Shubert Theatre, opened on Friday evening, December 11, 1914 with “The Belle of Bond Street.” From its very first season, the Shubert Theatre has been a performing arts center presenting plays, musicals, dance and a variety of solo performances. Since opening, the legendary theatre has played host to over 600 pre-Broadway tryouts, including over 300 world premieres and 50 American premieres. The totals are double that of any theater in New York City or any of the other try-out cities.

The theatre became known as the “Birthplace of the Nation’s Greatest Hits” for the number of long-run productions that first came to life on the Shubert stage including 11 of the famed Rodgers Musicals (Sound of Music and My Fair Lady) with with many of the greatest stars and stars-to-be of the day including Julie Andrews and Marlon Brando.

Though closed and at threat of destruction between 1976 and 1983, today, the restored Shubert is the heart of a thriving downtown neighborhood bustling with restaurants, cafes, shops and museums and continues its role as a key economic driver for the community. The Shubert is a cultural centerpiece for New Haven and an economic engine for downtown growth, attracting more than 100,000 diverse audience members annually.

Ensuring a Sustainable Future for the Arts... with the Help of AVANGRID

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In the spirit of its community-centric legacy and mission, the Shubert Theatre and Connecticut Association for the Performing Arts offers a variety of education and outreach programs to inspire new audiences and talent close to home. These programs touch and change the lives of over 5,000 children each year.

One of the Foundation’s investments includes the Shubert Summer Theater & Arts Camp, a summer program for middle school students who want to explore interests, potential, and opportunities in the arts. Located at adjacent Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School in the heart of downtown New Haven, the camp offers students – New Haven and non-New Haven residents alike – a chance to take in-depth classes in theater, dance and visual arts while in an arts- rich environment. 

Campers participate in the Theater & Arts Camp, which allows them to choose from many different arts offerings, or sign up for one of the Musical Theater Camps, which offer a curriculum of singing, acting, and theater-related activities. At the end of each two-week session, the Theater & Arts Camp performs and displays their art in a Camp Showcase Event and the Musical Theater Camps perform their musical. Both performances are open to all campers, their families, and friends! This year, campers brought several classic animated films to life on stage, including 101 Dalmatians, Willy Wonka, and Mary Poppins.

Like the Avangrid Foundation, the Shubert Summer Theater & Arts Camp believes in fostering diversity and open opportunity across communities. At Camp, this has impacts on both its campers and staff as the Campers’ self-development is central to curriculum which works to nurture self-esteem, compassion, kindness and tolerance.

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Just as the Shubert Camp welcome students from diverse backgrounds and communities, the camp also opens doors to families with limited financial means. Thanks to grants from supporters like the Avangrid Foundation, the Shubert is able to keep its programming affordable and provide financial aid to students in need. In addition, Co-Op High School is also a summer feeding site, so all campers have access to free lunch during the summer, independent of their financial circumstances. 

Shubert’s classes are run by a blend of professional artists, teaching artists, and emerging student-teacher artists from Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School, offering campers a diverse range of perspectives and styles.

Frequently, graduates of the Shubert program, now high school and college age, return and give back to the program as interns and teaching assistants. For many, these paid positions offer an important source of supplemental income to their households.

The Shubert Theater and Arts Summer Camp finished its eighth summer on July 26th, 2019.  Avangrid support helps fund the camper financial aid as well as stipends for the program’s teaching assistants.  Each year, approximately, twenty students receive over $7,000 in tuition assistance, enabling equal opportunity and access to arts and culture.

Together, this year the Shubert and the Avangrid Foundation have helped support:

  • 137 campers

  • 9 paid high school teaching assistants

  • 11 interns

  • 11 staff

  • 500+ who attended camp performances and showcases

The Avangrid Foundation is dedicated to the advancement of arts, culture, and heritage as well as to the enrichment of our communities in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. This action supports

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